In the run-up to the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya announced that it was completely sold out after having to make do with a limited number of spectators in the past two seasons due to corona. Around 300,000 F1 fans visited the Spanish race track last weekend. It soon became apparent that the venue was not prepared for the crowd. It caused long lines at the limited food and drink outlets and restrooms. Traffic also came to a standstill on Saturday and Sunday due to heavy traffic jams on the access roads around the circuit, after which the spectators had trouble finding a parking space. In addition, Montmelo’s small train station also struggled to transport fans to and from the center during rush hours.
Problems with the audience were exacerbated by the heat. Catalonia has had its hottest week of the year in recent days with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees. Many fans got through the days without eating and drinking too much and expressed their displeasure on social media. Some even said they would not attend the race even though they had a ticket.
A few hours after the race, Formula 1 issued a statement calling the congestion unacceptable and urging organizers to come up with a plan to avoid a similar problem next season. “The large number of fans at this event, both on and off the track, caused traffic problems for fans,” F1 said in a statement. “We have made the promoter aware that this is not acceptable and should be resolved before next season.”
Several parts of the Montmelo circuit have been renovated for the year, but some of the key spectator facilities have remained virtually untouched over the years. The Spanish GP, where Max Verstappen won Formula 1 for the first time and which is a popular tourist destination, has seen a surge in Dutch fans in recent years. Carlos Sainz’s results at Ferrari and Fernando Alonso’s comeback have also seen local fans find their way back to F1 racing, which has been staged since its inception in 1991.
Have you attended the Spanish Grand Prix? Share your experiences in the comments!